UPCOMING EVENT: Rayovac FLW Series - 2015 - Lake Champlain

Hackney hauls in lead at 2002 FLW Championship

Pro Greg Hackney of Oak Ridge, La., used a 15-pound, 13-ounce catch to grab the overall lead after the first round of competition at the 2002 FLW Championship.

Alton Jones and Craig Powers produce day's best head-to-head contest

SHREVEPORT, La. - With the majority of the pro field struggling mightily on the fickle waters of Cross Lake, 10th-ranked Greg Hackney of Oak Ridge, La., appeared to have no trouble at all finding the monster bites. Using an amazing catch of 15 pounds, 13 ounces, Hackney not only trounced his day-one opponent, Kim Stricker of Howell, Mich., by more than 14 pounds, but he also grabbed a 3-pound, 10-ounce lead over Alton Jones of Waco, Texas, the angler with the second largest total of the day.

"It feels really good. I kind of feel like my own hero today," said Hackney, normally one of the most reserved and soft-spoken members of the FLW Tour. "I'm definitely pumped."

Although one might think that the Louisiana native had a home-lake advantage given the fact that Cross Lake isn't more than a few hours away from his current residence, Hackney revealed that he was just as unfamiliar with the FLW Championship venue as the rest of the field.

"I've never fished here before in my life," said Hackney. "And until I looked at this year's schedule, I didn't even know this lake existed."

So how did he explain his relative success on the water while some of the best pros in the nation failed to even weigh in a single fish?

"Believe it or not, I kind of struggled out there today. I didn't get a lot of bites throughout the day and I didn't even have one bite during the first two hours of competition," he said. "But when I did get a bite, I was fortunate enough that they were big."

There appeared to be one other reason for his success.

"I really went for broke today," he said. "I know there's only going to be one winner here and nobody is going to remember a few months from now whether you came in second place or last. I had to go for it."

During tomorrow's competition, Hackney said he is going to have to play it by ear as far as strategy goes.

"It's going to be a different tournament every day," he said. "The fish are moving from one day to the next, so you've got to be able to change things up. This lake is really getting beat up so it's probably going to get harder over the next few days. I think the key is to make sure you get at least two fish over the (17-inch) slot limit. If you do that, I think you'll be able to advance."

Jones and Powers set for epic battle

Although Craig Powers of Rockwood, Tenn., produced the third-largest stringer of the day - an 11-pound, 7-ounce catch - he had the misfortune of being matched up against Alton Jones in today's head-to-head competition. Jones, the first pro to weigh in, recorded a five-fish limit weighing 12 pounds, 4 ounces.

Clearly, Powers was feeling the pressure.

"It's the most mentally nerve-wracking tournament I've fished in my entire life," he said. "I'm sitting there throwing back 3-pound fish and being forced to keep a bunch of 12-inchers in my livewell because of the slot limit. It's really tough. It's hard to maintain focus when you're faced with a situation like that."

The Cross Lake slot limit has already served to tax many of the top pros. According to state DNR regulations, anglers can keep all fish between 12 and 14 inches. They are also allowed to keep up to four fish over 17 inches. However, anglers may keep no fish between 14 and 17 inches. The result? A healthy number of 2- and 3-pound largemouth bass are going to find themselves back in the water as soon as they are hooked.

It's also a fact of life that Powers and the rest of the field are going to have to deal with for the remainder of the tournament.

"Because of the slot limit, you can't really pattern anything," said Powers. "I've been using a buzzbait and flipping a tube like everyone else. And my catch was kind of lucky today."

As far as his battle with Jones is concerned, Powers said he is just going to go out there and do his best.

"I'm going to do the same thing tomorrow," he said. "Alton Jones is one of the best bass fishermen in the world. It's just the luck of the draw."

However, both Powers and Jones know that because of the head-to-head format, only one angler will survive tomorrow's competition to fish another day.

Notable finishes

Coming in with the fourth-largest stringer of the day was Pat Fisher of Stone Mountain, Ga., who recorded a total catch of 11 pounds, 4 ounces. Fisher appears to be in good position to advance to the next round after tomorrow's competition as his opponent, Stanley Mitchell of Fitzgerald, Ga., only managed to turn in a catch of 2 pounds.

Assuming Fisher prevails, he is also set to face the winner of the Jones/Powers matchup in the next round. Consequently, it is becoming apparent that the Fisher, Mitchell, Jones and Powers bracket is toughest portion of the FLW Championship draw by far.

On the strength of a 10-pound, 3-ounce catch, Brent Chapman of Shawnee, Kansas, grabbed fifth place in the tournament's overall standings. Chapman, seeded 34th, currently leads his opponent, 15th-seeded Wesley Strader of Spring City, Tenn., by 4 pounds, 6 ounces.

Bill Chapman of Salt Rock, W. Va., used a 10-pound stringer to turn in the sixth largest stringer of the day. Chapman, the 40th seed, is currently leading his opponent, ninth-ranked Andre Moore of Scottsdale, Ariz., by 8 pounds, 6 ounces.

Bass-fishing legends find going tough

The household names in the world of professional bass fishing didn't fair as well today as many had expected. Although Rick Clunn of Ava., Mo., turned in the seventh-best performance of the day with a 9-pound, 9-ounce catch, many of his famous counterparts turned in sub-par efforts based on their seeds.

In fact, out of the group of Kevin VanDam (4-7), Guido Hibdon (2-11), Larry Nixon (5-14), Jay Yelas (5-10), Dean Rojas (4-3), Paul Elias (2-3), Aaron Martens (5-10), Gary Klein (2-7) and Clark Wendlandt (4-6), none managed to turn in a performance better than 6 pounds. However, with the exception of Paul Elias, who must make up a 7-pound, 6-ounce deficit, all of the aforementioned names were either leading or within striking distance of their opponents.

Cross Lake is unkind to co-anglers

If the pros were having a hard time on Cross Lake, then the co-anglers were finding it nearly impossible to produce quality stringers. In fact, out of the 48 co-anglers who qualified for the championship, only one - Gerald Williams of Scottsville, Ky. - managed to record at least four keeper fish.

However, despite the tough going, Danny Strand of Champaign, Ill., found himself atop the overall leaderboard with a catch of 7 pounds, 3 ounces. In second place was Jim Blake of Lincoln, Neb., with a catch of 6 pounds, 9 ounces. Williams, on the strength of his four-fish catch, found himself in third place.

Rounding out the top five co-anglers were Sam Parker (fourth) of Florence, Ala., with a catch of 4 pounds; and Alex Ormand (fifth) of Bessemer City, N.C., with a catch of 3 pounds, 15 ounces.

The co-anglers who bring in the top 24 combined weights over the first two days of competition will advance to Friday's finals. Unlike the pros, however, co-anglers do not face any head-to-head competition.

Tomorrow's takeoff is scheduled to take place at 6 a.m. at the American Legion, located at 5315 Southlake Shore in Shreveport.

Related links:
Photos
FLW Championship bracket
Results
Results of day-one pairings
Day-two pairings
Cross Lake Conection: FLW Championship, day one
Press releases

Tags: headline-story  gary-mortenson 

/news/2015-07-21-top-picks-from-icast

Top Picks From ICAST

A few days of walking the floor at ICAST is enough to exhaust a body, but it isn’t enough to know exactly what’s worthwhile. For that, you need some time to reflect and probably a few tournament seasons to fly by to see what rises up. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-renfrew-fished-to-win

Renfrew Fished to Win

Ian Renfrew of Phoenix, New York, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Northeast Division tournament on Oneida Lake presented by Navionics. For his victory, Renfrew earned $4,695. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-docks-and-rocks-key-for-synders

Docks and Rocks Key for Synders

Rus Snyders of Nashville, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Music City Division tournament on Old Hickory Lake presented by Navionics. For his victory, Snyders earned $2,703. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-jig-crankbait-carry-powroznik

Jig, Crankbait Carry Powroznik

Ryan Powroznik of Prince George, Virginia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 15 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Piedmont Division tournament on the James River. For his victory, Powroznik earned $7,507. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-persistence-pays-for-arning

Persistence Pays for Arning

Ray Arning Jr. of Walnut Hill, Illinois, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 13 pounds, 5 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Illini Division tournament on Rend Lake presented by Navionics. For his victory, Arning earned $5,804. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-17-new-rod-roundup

New Rod Roundup

Rod companies continue to impress each year with a new crop of lighter, faster and more affordable (sweet!) rods. On the subject of price, these days, a tournament pro or an average angler could be fishing with rods that cost less than $100 apiece, but without giving up anything in the realm of quality. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-17-new-terminal-tackle

New Terminal Tackle

Don’t skimp where it counts the most – terminal tackle. Hooks, weights, jigheads and the like are the keys to taking all those new soft baits and swimbaits to the fish, hooking them and getting them in the boat. Here’s the best stuff we saw on the floor at ICAST 2015. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-flw-announces-2016-tour-schedule

FLW Announces 2016 Tour Schedule

FLW announced the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour regular-season schedule today in a live press conference held at the 2015 ICAST show in Orlando, Fla. With the help of six veteran Tour pros, the company unveiled each of the six events, one-by-one, to a crowd of observers gathered around the FLW booth. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-6-new-reels-to-try

6 New Reels to Try

Whether you need to replace an old reel or you’re just looking to add to the arsenal, here are some of the latest and greatest from ICAST. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-6-new-lines-from-icast-2015

6 New Lines from ICAST 2015

Line might just be the most important part of the package when it comes to landing fish. From presenting the bait to getting them in the net, your line is involved the entire way. If you’re looking for something new to try, the following lines are worth a shot. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-icast-best-of-show-winners-

ICAST Best Of Show Winners

One of the highlights of ICAST is the annual “Best of Show” awards. Not everything at ICAST is of interest to bass anglers, but the below might end up being staples for a long time to come. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-10-new-frogs-and-toads

10 New Frogs and Toads

These days, frogs and toads aren’t just mimicking frogs and toads. They’re designed to be perfect imitations of rats, bream and various oddball creatures. New models at ICAST this season offer anglers some of these “alternative” species, as well as new sizes, colors, action types and degrees of realism. Here are 10 new models that we feel are of greatest interest. Click here for complete 2015 ICAST coverage. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-7-terrific-topwater-baits

7 Terrific Topwater Baits

If you don’t like fishing topwater, just give up fishing already. These seven new baits will help you get your surface-fishing fix next season. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-critters-and-craws

Critters and Craws

Nearly everyone already has a tackle box overflowing with soft baits. That said, there are always more to try. If you’re looking for something new, the following might do the trick. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-15-new-hard-baits-for-2015

New Hard Baits for 2015

It doesn’t take long to find yourself overwhelmed on the show floor of ICAST. Hundreds of companies are here unveiling cool, new products. When it comes to the hard bait category it can be daunting to sift through all the new stuff. Its early, but here are a few things that might be worth adding to the tackle box. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-15-icast-2015-fishing-accessories

ICAST 2015 Fishing Accessories

Check out these tools and accessory items that fill a variety of roles when on the water. We’ll update the list later tomorrow too. Click here for complete 2015 ICAST coverage. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-15-cool-new-electronics-at-icast-2015

Cool New Electronics at ICAST 2015

These days, anglers rely on cutting edge electronic devices not only to find and catch fish, but also to share their fishing experiences with the world. The following new products, as seen on day one at ICAST 2015, will help you do all of the above. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-15-new-clothing-and-sunglasses-at-icast-2015

New Clothing and Sunglasses at ICAST 2015

Sunglasses and clothing that can resist all that Mother Nature throws at it are critical for hard-core anglers. Here’s what’s new in those categories at this year’s ICAST show. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-15-three-new-finesse-worms

Three New Finesse Worms

Though there is a ton of finesse worms already available on the market, but the following three from the first day of ICAST might be worth a look if you sense a gap in your arsenal. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-14-dance-detweiler-and-east-win-icast-cup

Dance, Detweiler and East Win ICAST Cup

Weighing in midway through the 48-boat field, Bill Dance, Cody Detweiler, and Dave East repped Mystik Lubricants brought a five-bass limit for 17 pounds, 1 ounce to the scale for the win. The team focused on two shallow, grassy areas within sight of Big Toho Marina for the entirety of the event and caught about 10 bass and culled twice before 8 a.m. READ MORE »